Trolleys are electric streetcars and interurban cars operating from an overhead wire (or in some cases a third rail to one side of the track at ground level). Third rail is a common way to power subway trains or street cars operating in underground tunnel systems below city streets.
In N-scale, modeling trolleys is not a common sight at shows, but it has been around for almost 20 years in limited amounts. This is basically because you have to build your own equipment, and trolley poles are a problem to make and operate reliably. Operating from overhead wire using a pantograph is more common today with new surface systems that are being installed in many cities in North America, as mass transit starts is resurgence.
In the ready-to-run category, there is not much available. From Bachmann there is the PCC (President's Conference Committee car) and the Brill Trolley. From Model Power there is a four-wheel Brill with a matching trailer. None of them operate from overhead, and they have plastic poles. They can be made to run from powered overhead trolley wire, but do not come ready to operate that way.
If you go to the following pages, you will see what has been happening in Japan. Modemo is the premier manufacturer of quality trolleys, some of which would be at home on North American streets. Again, as supplied, they are not equipped for operating from the overhead. Kato has made a few models of small 2-axle European Trams. Tomix and Green Max have also made a few trolley models amongst their collection of traction models of equipment that operates in Japan. There is also another manufacturer in Austria, whose name I do not know, but the product is available from Aspen Models in the USA.
For joining a discussion group on traction modelling try this: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nscaletraction/
Ncat is a part of Ntrak and can be found here: http://www.teamsavage.com/ncat/ncat.html
|Garth's N-Scale Trolley Pages|
|Page 1: Modemo (through 2008 - NT96)|
|Page 2: Tomix and Tomytec (through 2008)|
|Page 3: Kato and Greenmax (through 2008)|